Category Archives: Cooking

Jazzing Up Frozen Pizza

One of my favourite things to do lately is to buy a nice frozen organic, cheese pizza and add my own toppings to make it super yummy! 

Excuse the quality of the picture.  I only had my cell phone available.  But here’s a taste of my latest favourite – spinach, artichoke, and mushroom.  YUMMM!!!  I’ve been using Pizzeria Italiana Organic 4-Cheese pizza as a base.  Only 270 calories for 1/3 of a pizza!  Add the other toppings and you’re at 350.  A lot less cheesy and salty than pizza you’d get at a pizzeria and definitely better for you.

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Food Friday!

A peak at my meals that I’ve been eating this week.

Breakfast:

Parfait of Vanilla Greek Yogurt, Strawberries, and Granola

 

Organic Pancakes, Maple Syrup, and Grapes

Lunches and Dinners:

I forgot to take a picture of my delicious salad!  Whoops.

Spicy Tempeh and Broccoli, from Veganomicon

Lentil, Guac, and Sour Cream Taco.  All I did for this was cook lentils and add a packet of taco mix in the last few minutes of cooking.

And my favourite of the week…Portabello Reuben!

Dessert:

Chocolate Walnut Biscotti (supposed to be hazelnuts but I didn’t have any)

I attempted to make sweet potato chips for a snack, but they sliced with one side thicker than the other and all of them got burnt!

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VEGANOMICON, YOU ROCK!

 

I have rarely been disappointed with a recipe from Veganomicon.  This was my dinner tonight – Asparagus and Lemongrass Risotto!  Garnished with some asparagus tips and chopped peanuts, this is a dish to impress anyone!  Amazingly creamy, this salty-tangy, Thai-inspired dish is refreshing.  And the colours are beautiful!  You can’t entirely see it in the picture, but there are tiny flecks of red from the serrano peppers.  It’s a bit labour-intensive, but worth every second standing over the stove stirring the risotto until it’s absorbed all the liquid.  This is surely going to be a new favourite.  : )

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Power Breakfast

Lately I’ve been eating a lot of sugar and a lot of really heavy rich foods.  I think a lot of that has been due to the stress of this past track.  I’ve eaten out a lot and my diet has been less than stellar, and I can feel my body screaming at me.  As a result I have been craving a mostly vegan diet including a ton of foods I normally don’t ever want to eat.  Now that I’m tracked out and my parents’ visit is done, I’ll be doing a two-week detox and will most likely eat a mostly vegan diet.  The other day I woke up and instead of wanting my usual breakfast…

Usual Breakfast

This breakfast includes a whole wheat English muffin with butter, not margarine, a hard-boiled egg, a bowl of mixed fruit (in this case pineapple, strawberries, and kiwi), and a glass of orange juice.  All my breakfasts are structured this way.  Whole grain carb, usually toast, an English muffin, or waffles/pancakes.  Then I’ll have a protein of some sort.  Sometimes it’s cheese on on apple, cottage cheese, or more likely a hard-boiled egg.  Lastly I have a fruit and always a glass of orange juice.  But when I woke up the other day all I wanted was this…

New Breakfast!

First of all, as a kid I hated oatmeal.  Eating oatmeal is a recent development, but when I do I usually mix in brown sugar and maple syrup.  The thought of mixing in fruit and nuts was just nasty.  But it’s delicious – and filling! I’ll cook a half cup oatmeal in a bowl for about a minute, then add a sliced banana and a hand full of almonds and cook for another minute and 30 seconds.  Yummm!  And talk about a nice way to get rid of ripe bananas!

Yummy!

I can’t get enough of this breakfast and I’m inspired to try new oatmeal concoctions!  Anyone have any suggestions of their favourite ways to eat oatmeal?

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Vegan Beanballs from Veganomicon

I’ve been craving some good meatballs, but the frozen substitutes are so expensive!  So I decided to try a recipe for “beanballs” from Veganomicon, a book I highly recommend to vegans, vegetarians, and meat-eaters alike.  Full of delicious and healthy recipes!  Anyway, these beanballs are positively divine.  I couldn’t stop eating the mixture off of my hands while I was rolling them into balls.  I just ate them with spaghetti and decided I’d rather eat them by themselves as some pop-in-your-mouth protein treat.  They’re bursting with flavour!  First I’ll type out the recipe as it is in the book, then make some notes of some changes I made:

Ingredients:

  • 1 20-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and rained (about 3 cups)
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp steak sauce
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated or finely minced
  • 1/4 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1/4 vital wheat gluten (this makes them chewier, but you can substitute whole-wheat or all-purpose flour…I used flour)
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375F.  Mash the kidney beans in a mixing bowl until no whole beans are left.  (Start with a potato masher, then use a fork to get any rogue beans). You don’t want them to be completely smooth; you should still be able to recognize that they are kidney beans.  Add the soy sauce, steak sauce, olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, bread crumbs, wheat gluten, and herbs and use a fork to mix everything together.  Use your hands to knead the mixtre for about a minute, until everything is really well combined and firm.

Roll the bean mixture into walnut-sized balls [here they said you should have 12-15 but I got about twice that…guess I made mine tiny] but don’t make them too big; smaller makes for the best texture.

Grease a rimmed baking sheet with olive oil.  Place the balls on the sheet and drizzles them with a little more oil to coat [I sprayed Pam].  Bake for 15 minutes, until lightly browned on the bottom, then flip them and bake for another 10 minutes.

Pan-frying Option:

Preheat a large skillet over medium heat.  Pour about 1/4 in of olive oil in the pan, then add your beanballs.  Cook for about 15 minutes, tossing them often, until browned on all sides.

Nutrition info per baked beanball if you get 24:

Calories: 48; Fat: 1.2 g; Protein: 2 g; Carbohydrates: 7,3 g

Some changes that I made: I used Italian-seasoned bread crumbs since that’s all I had.  That may be one reason these suckers are bursting with flavour.  I’m also not a huge garlic fan and don’t like the idea of biting into a chunk of garlic, so I used 1/8 tsp of garlic powder instead.  I left out the lemon zest since it wasn’t worth me buying one lemon for such a small amount of zest.  As for the thyme and oregano, I had this Tuscan Sunset spice mix sitting in my cabinet, so I used a teaspoon of that instead.  Yummm!  These definitely make the list of recipes I will make again and again!  They were quick and easy.  I even made the mixture the night before and rolled them into balls out of the fridge.  I think having them cold may have helped the mixture stick to itself a little more easily.

Beanballs!!!

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Purple Sweet Potatos

An exciting find at Whole Foods and probably the most intriguing vegetable I’ve encountered recently.  They’re grown locally so I don’t know if this is just a NC thing, but they’re awfully pretty!  I’m no fan of sweet potatoes because of their overwhelmingly squash-like flavour, but their purple cousin is milder and has a very creamy texture.  I used these purple spuds in some vegetarian burritos a few weeks back.  Their colour was awesome against the dark green kale and black beans.  Imagine biting into a burrito and seeing this!

Heatlhy Veggie Burrito Filling

 

I tried them again in a recipe from the January/February issue of Vegetarian Times. Baked Leek and Sweet Potato Gratin. Beautiful to look at and delicious!

Baked Leek and Sweet Potato Gratin

 

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Recipe Success!

I don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner, but I decided to vegetarianize a favourite meal of mine from my childhood.  It’s super simple, but so delicious, and a magnificent comfort food!  My mom used to make this every time we had leftovers from a roast chicken.  She’d make a white sauce out of flour, butter, milk, salt, and pepper, throw in some chunks of chicken, and a handful of frozen peas.  Serve it over rice and voila!  Yummm!  Instead of chicken I used Quorn tenders, which basically look and taste like cubed up chicken.  I love Quorn brand products because it seems to be the most naturally derived.  Other soy-based meat substitutes have a lot of fillers and crap in it, but Quorn is made from “mycoprotein,” which is derived from a fungus.  Sounds disgusting, but it tastes good!  The dish tasted just like I remember.  My mind is brimming with old favourites that I can vegetarianize now because of these products.  I can’t wait to try them all!  Anyway, take a look at this and try to tell me you don’t want to just gobble it up…

Creamy "Chicken" and Peas with Brown Rice

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